Like structure roofing, RV roofing options are vast. There are a number of materials used to create RV roofs, including everything from liquid rubber to vinyl, fiberglass, and standard rubber roofing. Choosing the “best” material is a misnomer in this situation, although it is one of the most common questions asked by RV owners. Why is this question so difficult to answer, though? There isn’t just one right or wrong answer. Plus, while all roofing materials have their pros and cons to consider, modern products are fairly similar in terms of longevity and protective benefits. Therefore, it largely comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Liquid products are the best RV roof material for a versatile, convenient, economical solution. These products are designed to fill in all cracks and crevices, and dry white to offer energy savings by reflecting sunlight. Liquid roofing products are also easy to apply with a brush or squeegee, and typically require little to no maintenance. Plus, they self-level, so you can ensure an even coat and avoid pooling that can lead to damage later on.
EPDM and TPO (Standard Rubber Roof)
Rubber is the most common roofing material used on RVs. Unlike liquid products, traditional rubber membranes offer a sheet-style application. EPDM and TPO refer to the two types of rubber materials used to make RV roofing, and each has its own pros and cons. EPDM is more affordable and offers a low-maintenance solution, while TPO is a synthetic that is ideal for flat roofs with few fixtures or attachments. Each type of rubber has different maintenance requirements, so make sure that you know which one you have.
Although they add weight to the RV, fiberglass roofs are the best RV roof material for less maintenance. These roofs are significantly more expensive than rubber roofing and other materials, but they do offer a high-quality, hard-top solution that some people prefer. Fiberglass roofing may require more frequent resealing because the sturdy material doesn’t provide an additional layer of flexibility like a rubber roofing product.
Vinyl roofing shares a lot of the same properties with rubber RV roofing products. This is a more flexible material that is cost-effective when compared to fiberglass. Minor tears or rips can even be easily repaired without a full replacement, which makes this the best RV roof material for affordability and durability. Usually, the vinyl roof is chosen due to manufacturing costs, and isn’t that much different than EPDM or TPO in terms of maintenance and care.
What Really Matters
Now that you better understand the different types of roofing materials available for an RV and what they have to offer, you can decide which one best suits your needs. When it comes to a long-lasting, durable RV roof, the material is less important than things like:
● Routine inspections and cleaning. RV roofs should be inspected and cleaned at least 2-3 times per year, depending on how often it is used and whether or not it is covered while in storage.
● Use of proper protectant and sealing materials. The wrong materials can cause a lot of damage to your RV’s roof and even affect its resale value. For example, using a petroleum-based protectant or sealant on an EPDM roof will create a bubbling effect and can cause permanent roof damage. Make sure you care for your roof with material-specific products and maintenance tasks.
● Ozone, extreme temperatures, and UV rays. All roofing materials are prone to deterioration over time due to these elements. Some materials feature built-in protective coatings to reduce this wear over time. Others require regular application of an additional roof protectant, which may be a step you don’t want to have to deal with.
The bottom line? Choose the best RV roof material based on your own personal preferences. Also, remember that when you are buying an RV, the type of roof that it has doesn’t necessarily make one model better than another. Liquid roofing certainly has a lot of perks, but with the right care, any roofing material can give your RV the protection that it needs.